How Waiting Tables Prepares You For Your Baby’s First Month

Matt AbrahamMatt Abraham currently lives in China with his criminally insane cat Durden, his beautiful one month old son Kal, and his supportive wife Jenny. For more, check out his critically acclaimed debut novel Dane Curse (available for 99 cents) or contact him at authormattabraham@gmail.com and danecursepi.wordpress.com

I was terrified when I had my kid four weeks ago. He was tiny and fragile, screaming and shaking, and all I knew was that I wanted to succeed as a parent. However, the only skills I possessed dealt with waiting tables. What was I going to do, upsell him a bottle of wine or crumb his bib between courses? But after four weeks of fathering I realize there was no need for concern, because as surprising as it sounds, the skills I gained from working in restaurants were the only ones I needed to successfully deal with an infant. After all, he was just a weepy egocentric human who was demanding all my attention, and even on a slow Tuesday night you’ll see four of those… So if you’re a waiter who’s expecting their first kid you can rest easy, the following six lessons from your time spinning trays are guaranteed to get you through the crucial first month of parenthood with ease.

Kind of.

Lesson 1. No matter how bad it gets, don’t panic.

It doesn’t matter if your apps are dragging, the POS machine is down, or table twelve just found a human finger in the flan; you don’t panic. Personally, I apply this cool thinking to everything I do as a dad. Like right now my baby’s been crying for ten minutes straight, the cat’s crapping on the new white rug, and smoke from the toast I forgot I was making just set off the fire alarm. But am I freaking out? No. I’m writing a blog post. Because waiting tables taught me to keep a level head. Or maybe because I got six fingers of gin in me. Whichever. The point is I’m not panicking.

Lesson 2. You develop an iron bladder

It’s happened to us all: You have to go to the bathroom, but you’re weeded like Snoop Dogg at Reggae Fest with no one around to cover your section, so you seal up your bladder like a sous-vide bag and wait (sometimes an hour) before finally finding three minutes to sneak downstairs and drop your urine like one of those planes that fight wildfires. Congratulations. This ability comes in crazy handy when you have a baby. See, the first thing you learn as a parent is never wake the baby. Never. Even if they’re lying on your chest and you just drank a gallon of tea you sit there as still as possible like the kid’s pinning you to the sofa like they’re fucking Mjolnir, because the hard truth is a quiet baby trumps dry pants every time. Seriously. I’ve never wet myself to keep my baby quiet, but I wouldn’t judge anyone who has. It’s the right call every time.

Lesson 3. You’ll eat every meal like it’s a shift meal

If you’ve never seen a restaurant worker eat before their shift picture a team of piranhas working on a cow, except with more silverware and fewer niceties. And there are two reasons why: first, there’s only a tiny window in which that food can be consumed before the barbarians arrive, and second, there are precious few actual edible bits in a shift meal, and you got to fight for them. Seriously. I’ve seen cooks throw shoe leather into a hotel pan of Salisbury steak to add mass. Basically I’m saying if you want to eat you’ve got to move quickly.  Which is the same way you eat around a baby; you just power it down like it’s the Nathan’s Hotdog eating championship, because you got maybe three minutes before that cross between Golum and a potato you spawned wakes up and starts asking for shit. But whatever, tasting your food’s for pussies anyway.

Lesson 4. Booze won’t make it better, it’ll make it a lot better

Alcohol’s your friend, ally, parent, therapist, and old war buddy poured into a convenient bottle. I heartily recommend it to restaurant workers and new parents alike. But only AFTER the shift. And never when you’re breastfeeding. Unless you’re the feedee, and not the feeder. Then your freak flag’s flying so high I don’t think a glass of pinot will do much damage so go nuts.

Lesson 5. You only have friends like you

Thanks to the vampire hours most restaurant folk keep it was impossible for me to have friends who weren’t also in the industry, simply because my schedule guaranteed I’d never see them. The same thing happens now, except it’s with my kid-free friends, and if I ever do see them I have no clue what they’re talking about. “Taylor Swift’s twitter feud? China’s currency? Trump?” What the fuck are those things? I live in a world of diapers, man. Let’s talk about that.

Lesson 6. Babies and customers are NEVER right, but you still have to give them what they want

Every part of waiting tables is great. Except for the diners. They suck more than if a black hole manifested in the Dyson testing facility. With complaints like, “Where’s my food, I screamed my order at you a minute ago… This bottle’s too cold, warm it up… and, me me me me me me…” it’s amazing more of them aren’t killed annually (probably because it’s illegal, thanks Obama). So all you can do is shove whatever they’re crying for into their mouths in the hopes it’ll shut them up.I forgot if that point was directly about babies or restaurant guests, but you get my point, it works both ways.

Bonus Lesson. When it’s over you’ll miss it

Sure the industry sucks with all the doubles and clo-pens, but it’s full of the best people in the world. And you get to work and drink with them all night before waking up at noon in some strange place with no recollection of what you’ve done like a God damn werewolf. It’s awesome, and I miss it a lot. They say the same thing about newborns. That they grow up so fast and you’ll miss the time when they were itty bitty. It’s hard to believe, but I guess if I still long for my waiting days, despite being bossed around by bald assholes who thinks they’re the center of my universe, I don’t see why I won’t miss parenting a newborn despite that very same thing happens here on a daily basis, too.

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Sometimes It’s Worth It – by Ashley Parsons


Here at The Waitress Confessions we love hearing about your own daily lives as a waiter or waitress.  Here is a post that we found called Sometimes It’s Worth It by Ashley Parsons over at Why We Waitress.  Click here to view the original post.


Sometimes…image (1)If I had a dollar for every time I thought, “I can’t take it anymore. I’m quitting tonight,” I wouldn’t have to be a waitress.  We’ve all had those nights: it’s a half hour past closing time, and your table asks for a dessert menu, or right at last call, the birthday-drunk customer asks for 15 flaming Dr. Pepper shots. You think of responding with a laugh (or maybe flipping the table over), but you don’t. You plaster a smile on your face, ask if they’d like whipped cream on it, and tell them to enjoy the rest of their evening.

…but what about the good nights?

All too often, us servers forget about the times we don’t care how bad our feet hurt because we’re counting the cash in our hands. Every now and again, we get lucky, and customers actually give us what we bust our asses to earn. For example:

About a year ago, this cute couple came in for dinner. She was a nurse, and he was a writer – I guess opposites DO attract. Sometime during my usual schmoozy-small talk, I mentioned that I was an English major and very much into creative writing. When I handed them their check, WriterGuy started telling me about this old typewriter they had: no idea how old it is, but totally beautiful. It was just collecting dust in their attic.

(Side note: I’m obsessed with old typewriters.)

I spent about five minutes drooling over the details they gave me and fangirling over how cool it must be. Then NiceNurse said, “You want it?”

Uh…what?

They didn’t want it to go to some antiques road show. Said it should be with someone that will really cherish it. They didn’t know how much it was worth and didn’t care to.

A month later, they brought me the most beautiful machine I’ve ever seen: a 1936 Royal portable typewriter in almost mint condition, traveling case still totally intact.

Like I said — sometimes, it’s worth it.

by Ashley Parsons

That Restaurant Life by vickyamartin


Here at The Waitress Confessions we love hearing about your own daily lives as a waiter or waitress.  Here is a post that we found called That Restaurant Life by vickyamartin.  Check out her blog and read the original post


 

Back in 2012…

waitress pollwhen I was looking for a summer job, I remember countless people saying to me “Become a waitress!  You will make a ton of money.”  As a college student I thought, how bad could it be?  The money that came from tips sounded appealing and I worked as a cook in a pizza shop since high school so I had some restaurant experience.  I got hired at a Buffalo Wild Wings and there I learned what waitressing was all about. And after swearing to myself that I would never wait tables again for any reason after quitting that job, I decided to work at a local bar and restaurant once again this past summer.

On a busy Friday night, restaurants are a nightmare. Waiters and waitresses are bumping into one another while running food and drinks to tables, cooks are yelling at one another to complete orders, and the printer is spitting out orders to the cooks almost constantly.

As a waitress at a restaurant that has a bar, I have become accustomed to staying up until 2 a.m. waiting for a handful of customers to drink their final beer after last call.  I have met some customers who are always a delight to wait on.  Those people understand that the servers and bartenders are working for far less than minimum wage ($2.13 an hour) and their positive attitudes make it easy to enjoy my job.  They also understand what gratuity is fair and our paychecks are hardly enough to buy dinner at McDonalds.  Their tips are what we use to get by; they are the cash that goes into our pockets at the end of the night.  Then there are the people who do not understand said tipping concept, or the effort being put in my cooks, bartenders, and servers to keep the restaurant sailing smoothly. Whether it is ignorance or a bad experience that prevent these people from tipping, it still should not be the servers pay that suffers.  I work at a restaurant that does not add gratuity to checks and many of times have found that it should be mandatory.

One busy Saturday night in January, I was running around from table to table as usual; refilling Pepsi with the one soda machine in the restaurant, running beer and drinks to customers, taking food and drink orders, and checking to see how my eight or nine tables were doing.  I introduced myself to an older couple got them their drinks and took their food order.  While waiting for their food to come up, I ran checks to other customers who were leaving and took drinks to new arriving customers.

When the older couple’s hoagies were ready, I took them to the table and asked if they needed anything else, and left.  When I returned to their table, what I experienced was something worse than scorn you would receive from your own mother.

“This is unacceptable!” the old man shouted at me.  The woman chimed in and added that my service was terrible as they had watched their hoagies sit on the oven for a whole two minutes while I brought drinks to my other customers. When I offered to get them something else to eat on the house, suddenly nothing was good enough.  If they were not the center of my attention the whole night, I wasn’t a good enough waitress either.  I gave them their check and got a 13 cent tip.  The inability to understand how a restaurant works and lash out at your waitress for something they could not control shocked me. When waiting on many tables at once, it isn’t right to skip out on taking care of one table because of the impatient needs of another.

I realized from this experience why I enjoy my job as a waitress.  Interacting with people and making them smile and laugh while they are out to dinner also puts a smile on my face.  Seeing families together having a good time helps me suck up the fact that I am getting paid $2.13 an hour. And most of the time, goodhearted people are the understanding ones who have worked for minimum wage or less and are generous.

It is possible some people will find a reason to be cheap and skip out on tipping their waitress because of just about anything.  I came across an article from the Huffington Post about a waitress from New Jersey who was left a note instead of a tip by a family of four.  It read “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I do not agree with your lifestyle choices.” The woman, who was gay, also happened to be a marine and posted a photo of the note to Facebook.  This is an example that people are unethical and look for reasons to not tip.  In this case, the family was banned from the restaurant and the waitress received an outpouring of donations after this incident went public.  While I do not believe that all non-tippers should be banned from restaurants—because sometimes there is good reason for not tipping—I believe if you are eating out at a restaurant and have a server provide you good service, gratuity should be mandatory.  Many people raise children, pay for their education, and pay living expenses from their tips as servers.

As a server, you have to have a backbone.  The bottom line is that if people are not working hard at a restaurant, the restaurant will likely fail.  If all restaurants added in gratuity that could be taken off in the event of terrible service, which does happen, servers would still work hard and things would run efficiently, perhaps even better.  Waiters and waitresses can go home with money to pay their expenses like workers of other occupations, rather than having their wallet pay because of someone’s personal issues.

Written by : vickyamartin

 

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